Well the 2012 season is upon us and the question beckons: Who will make it to Super Bowl XLVII?? Every NFL team believes they have made moves to improve their roster yet only 15 or so really has a legitimate shot to make it to New Orleans. Each NFL season takes on a new look as new players make names for themselves, injuries derail teams and give hope to others, and then you have teams that come from out of nowhere. The latter rarely happens but when it does it makes for great theater.
An interesting thing happens the season after a surprise champion wins it, everyone thinks the team that should have won it, will win it the next year. Many are pointing to last year’s 15-1 Green Bay Packers to win it all. They were defending Super Bowl champions last year right? If the NFL were a television show like the NBA has become, I could understand your argument. However injuries and performance peaks and valleys alter a football team’s fortunes every season. In 2010, the Green Bay Packers were 10-6 with 16 players on injured reserve. Yet they rode the momentum of winning their final regular season game all the way to a championship. Last year they rested their players going into the playoffs and the Giants promptly took their lunch money in a quiet exit from the playoffs. The Giants used the same method Green Bay had used the year before: Get hot going into the playoffs.
As for The Chancellor’s crystal ball on the NFC this year:
2012 NFC Playoff Predictions
1. Detroit Lions 13-3 ## NFC North Champs Homefield Advantage
2. Atlanta Falcons 11-5 NFC South Champs
3. San Francisco 49ers 11-5 NFC West Champs
4. New York Giants 10-6 NFC East Champs
5. Green Bay Packers 11-5 Wild Card
6. Chicago Bears 10-6 Wild Card
NFC CHAMPION: Detroit Lions
It’s hard for some to wrap the thought of the Lions playing in the Super Bowl but this team is growing in stature and has the perfect blend of youth and talent. The strides they made last season with a healthy Matthew Stafford were immense and puts them in position to come out of the pack in 2012 a better football team. They will mature into that team as this season progresses. The NFC North as a whole will be the scourge of the league with the Packers and Bears also making the playoffs. The Packers took a big loss when they placed 2011 leading tackler Desmond Bishop on injured reserve. If they lose 15 more, that’s the recipe for their winning it in 2011…
Many folks point to the Philadelphia Eagles as a team to come into this season with something to prove. Yet their recent history has Michael Vick missing several games due to injury and 2012 will be no different. In the first six games he faces 3 of last year’s top ten defenses. Andy Reid’s job will be on the line with another 8-8 season as owner Jeffrie Lurie alluded to, but they will win 10 games.
Now many Saints fans will think their team is back in the hunt with the suspensions of Jonathon Vilma and Will Smith overturned. The Chancellor doesn’t see that. First off, the team has an interim coach standing in for interim coach Joe Vitt. The game plans of Sean Payton and in-game adjustments will be missed. The loss in continuity with players missing all those practices and which coach has what responsibilities will result in a few clock management mistakes. Count on it. Many point to Drew Brees as though he can overcome all of these obstacles, not without his confidant in Payton. The Saints will struggle.
As for the Dallas Cowboys, right now they have the number one defense in the NFL… except no one else has played. They did look good in the win over the New York Giants. DeMarco Murray ran hard. However it was just week one and the NFL season is a marathon, not a short sprint. In a long race, the NFC North Champion Detroit Lions will be the team standing at the finish.
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